The two singles I would like to share with you appear to be rather ordinary. But on closer study they are nothing of the sort.
The first of these was given to me in the late 1980s by a brother of my ex-wife. I suppose he felt sorry for me after I had lost a huge pile of records travelling from Bamako via Moscow with Aeroflot (a trauma that haunts me until this very day...). He gave me some singles, including a dramatically sanded down copy of "Whisky Magnin" by Amadou Balaké and this single by Orquesta Broadway.
To be honest the quality of these singles was such that I didn't really listen to them, and they were soon lost in my archive.
As often happens, they resurfaced after moving to our present home. But only recently have I been able to digitise the single by Broadway, and only then did I realise the 'rarity' of it. And I don't mean that the songs on the single are very rare or very special. They should be available either through some online service or through the album "Como Me Gusta". What makes this special is the combination of the B-side "Pa'Africa" with the place where this single was sold. For the single was bought - as can be seen on the back of the sleeve - in Ségou, Mali.
Several Malian musicians of the older generation have told me that Orquesta Broadway visited Mali in the early 1970s. I can find no record of this, only of their visits to Côte D'Ivoire (1973) and Senegal (1974) (more about their history here). But one way or another they had a huge impact on the Malian music scene. As far as I can ascertain these two songs were recorded before their visits to Africa, in 1972. This makes the insertions of the phrases in bambara even more remarkable. In perfect bambara after 1'44: "Let's go to Africa", and "let's go to sleep"(??). And this goes on till 2'24.
As mentioned before, the quality of the vinyl is poor, and if you prefer listening to a cleaner version you can find "Pa'Africa" here or you can buy the A-side "Como Me Gusta" and the album with the same title in several online stores.
The second single of this post was also bought in Africa; to be precise in Gagnoa, Côte D'Ivoire. Again it is by an orchestra that toured West-Africa, although almost a decade earlier. Cuban maestro Enrique Jorrín (wikipedia and a much more detailed biografia in spanish, which shows the intricate web of connections between a great number of Cuban legends) apparently was inspired by the music he heard to such an extent that he actually decided to interpret a song, "Sute Monebo", which he labelled "Folklore guineo".
I have personally never seen a version of this song on CD, - but given the enormous quantity of re-releases of Cuban classics it is possible that it does exist...
This song has had me digging deep in my archives to find an original. An original, which I am sure I have heard at some point in the past, but have been so far unable to retrieve. I have found versions by artists from neighbouring countries, like Ivorian Aïcha Koné (with her the title is "Soutemonebo") and by Malian Toumani Diabaté (Ketama), but these are from a much later date. Perhaps if you know of a version you can let us know. I'm almost certain that when I do find the missing original (or at least the older version I am sure I've heard), I'll go "oh, of course!".
The A-side of this single is very nice too. A simply superb version of that all-time classic and probably most interpreted song ever by Moisés Simons, "El Manicero". Together with the delightful B-side, a single well worth sharing.....
Liner Notes: Episode 6: Congolese Divas
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